Tag Archives: museum Termas-da-Azenha

Run for your life – an epic marathon

The petition was offered to the minister last Thursday. Let’s hope it has an effect, because the effort has been great. Three-hun-dred-fif-ty-ki-lo-me-ters of running. I’m very impressed. I’m already bent over panting, when I’ve to run three hundred and fifty meters.

Olá, nurse Duarte Barbosa, your room is ready, just lie down! Have a drink? Don’t forget to enjoy the view, because that’s now at its best. Everything green and peaceful with a lot of storks and ibises in between. That’ll give you strength for the next 50 kilometers tomorrow.

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you have to leave very early in the morning

Running more than a marathon every day – respect!

From Porto to Lisbon, every day a part of at least the marathon distance. When Duarte Barbosa arrived here, it had been 50 kilometers. He came by taxi from Figueira da Foz, because he was supposed to go from hospital to hospital every day to collect signatures for this good cause.

The big goal of this marathon: improvement

Nurses suffer from work pressure, stress, underpayment and long hours. Now they want more salary, earlier retirement, shorter work weeks and recognition of their professionalism.

All things you read in the newspaper every day

How interesting …, you might think now, but Portugal is one of the lowest-paid countries in Europe, and that has consequences. A quarter of the portuguese have gone abroad – you can earn more there. In August there is a swarm of cars with an L on their behind: Luxembourg, the country where a third of the population is portuguese.

This is a sympathetic way of asking attention for your situation, don’t you think?

Very different from what, for example, the truckers did a while ago. They went on strike, and that was less fun, because they were no longer going to supply the gas stations. Within a day, there were kilometers of traffic jams for all gas stations.

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They failed to reach their goal, because they refused to supply the ambulance, police and fire department as an exception. If people can no longer go to the hospital, or the police have to cycle to an emergency, or your house burns down because the fire department can only throw buckets of water on the fire, you soon lose sympathy for your good cause. And their demands were pretty high. Doubling their salary, among other things.

A bit much.

The government immediately made plans to deploy the army

They received little sympathy from their fellow countrymen. Nobody will be happy if you are forced to spend hours in traffic jams, just to be able to fill up your car and all the jerrycans you could find so that you can go to work the next day.

This promotion demands more respect. Whether it will have the positive consequences required …. ?

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

 

… comes a dog at the doctor’s …

She sneaks away when she sees me coming. We won’t fall for that again – be very nice and kind, and then suddenly put you in a closed space that moves, and makes you extremely nervous and a bit sick. So scary! You don’t know what will happen. Those people are unpredictable.

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One moment they are friendly and kind to you, the next they grab you in your neck. Or you just walk somewhere, and you’re chased away. Or they put you on a chain. Or try to poison you. Everything is possible with those creatures on two legs.

It is in the DNA of animals, and especially Portuguese dogs, that you have to be very careful with people

I didn’t grab her for nothing: we’re going to the vet. Dr. Soares is the vet of the municipality, and a very kind and nice man. But she doesn’t know that yet.

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She is shivering in the back.

I just talk in a high soft voice: “Dontworrylovely, allswell, nothingwillhappentoyoudontworry, juststaycalmwe’regoingtohelpyou …”

With all those animals in the Termas – donkeys, cats and dogs in particular – I have seen quite a few veterinarians up close. From most of them, sorry to say, I have the impression that they’ve started to practice the profession not so much because of animal love, but more because you can earn nicely. Especially if you sell the medication with it. Some seem to be representatives of the pharmaceutical industry.

Now some dogs were not very good condition when I arrived

One in particular wasn’t very attractive – we called him Wolf, because he had a wolf’s head. That sounds nice, but the rest was a sheep, with very thick fur. Below he had the pink skin of a pig, one blue and one brown eye, and he was stupid as anything.

He probably had been chained all his life, because he had a piece of broken rope around his neck when I met him. At that moment I drove at full speed to trainstation Bifurcação de Lares to bring someone to the train, and when I saw him, I already knew that I couldn’t drive past him again on the way back.

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You come across some pathetic creatures, but this was one of the worst

It was a warm July day, and he walked completely mad with his thick sheepskin down the road. He was completely lost, literally and figuratively, but he was not agressive at all.

I went to see a number of veterinarians with him, along with my sister, who has impressive medical knowledge and said that a veterinarian could simply cut the ear a bit and sew it up again neatly. That would cure it. But all the vets looked at Wolf as if they saw an ebola-patient, and refused to even touch him. It wasn’t that bad anymore – we had already given him a bath.

Once, we even found a puppy in the garbage container! Surely a surprise, if you want to throw your garbage bag away, and a few adorable little eyes look up at you. We don’t want puppies anymore. It happened a few times, very cute and very sweet, but you have a lot of work with it.

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The last few years it has become less, all those lost dogs

Much more information is given, there is better care, and you can go to the municipal veterinarian if you want to adopt a lost dog or cat. Then the mandatory chip, passport and vaccination package costs little. Anyone can afford that, but you will be screened.

Logical, otherwise you’ll have many more cases of: “Comes a dog at the doctor’s …”

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

 

We’re having a heatwave

Sorry. Wrong title. YOU are having a heatwave. Here in Portugal it’s lovely weather – that is to say: I like some clouds in the morning, and sun in the afternoon, around 25 º with a breeze.

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I guess lots of you are suffering a bit from the heat up there. So … here you go. Good advice from people who have experience with heat and heatwaves.

I thought that could come in handy!

  • Make ice cubes, and a lot of them, use them to cool off
  • Wet towels of any size, put them in the freezer. Good for a quick cool off
  • Invest in 100% blockout curtains if you haven’t yet
  • Close curtains and shutters all the time. Open all of them when it’s cooler in the evening
  • Buy a role of insulation paper from the local hardware shop and stick this to your windows. Cheap and effective (if you don’t do the curtains-shutters-thing)
  • There are lots of animals and insects outside who need a little bit of help. Put some undeep saucers so they can’t drown

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  • If you can, invest in Cool Gelmats. Makes sleeping a lot easier
  • Carry water everywhere. Make sure you drink a lot. You need it
  • Do not use your oven at all. Instead eat salades, raw food, fruit
  • If you’re in a humid place, do not use fans, however tempting it might be. Use ice instead. You’ll get a cold easily with wind being wet
  • Try not to use electric devices – every device you use gets the temperature up. Get a hand fan
  • Stick to the shade (duh …)

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  • Wear sunscreen, even staying in the shade. Reapply every 4 hours. Here’s a recipe for homemade, ecologic sunscreen**
  • Look up the signs of heat stroke and keep them in mind. When you see someone suffering from it, you can help better
  • Wear a broad brimmed hat in the sun. Anyway: head protection
  • Wear sunglasses, you’ll get less tired

  • Wear cotton, not polyester. Breathes easier in the heat
  • If you feel weak or exhausted, lay in a cold bath for a while untill you cool down. If you don’t have a bath, take a lukewarm shower
  • Leave your hair wet, but take care with drafts & wind
  • Make a fire evacuation plan, or study it well in your workplace
  • DON’T FORGET YOUR PETS! Treat them the same as you treat yourself. If you have pets, put ice in their water

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  • Stay out of the sun between 14:00 – 17:00 especially
  • Don’t drink ice water or cold drinks. Your body will need warmth to get it up to body temp, so you’ll loose every effect. Drink lukewarm water or tea instead, and cool yourself off with icecubes or frozen towels (see above)
  • BE CREATIVE!

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** Homemade Sunscreen Recipe

Make your own sunscreen at home with natural ingredients and avoid the chemicals in commercial brands. 

Ingredients

  • ½ cup almond or olive oil (can infuse with herbs first if desired)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup beeswax
  • 2 TBSP zinc oxide
  • 1 tsp red raspberry seed oil (or less, optional)
  • 1 tsp carrot seed oil (or less, optional)
  • 2 TBSP shea butter (optional)

Optional Ingredients

  • essential oils
  • vanilla extract or other natural extracts (not citrus)Instructions
  • Combine all the ingredients except zinc oxide in a pint-sized or larger glass jar.
  • Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and place on the stove over medium heat.
  • Put a lid loosely on the jar and place it in the pan with the water.
  • Shake or stir the jar occasionally to mix the ingredients as the melt.
  • When all the ingredients are completely melted, stir in the zinc oxide, and pour into whatever jar or tin you will use for storage.
  • Stir a few times as it cools to make sure zinc oxide is incorporated.
  • Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator to increase shelf life.

Notes

  • This sunscreen is not waterproof and will need to be reapplied after sweating or swimming.
  • Make sure not to inhale the zinc oxide. Use a mask if necessary!
  • Add more beeswax to make thicker sunscreen, less to make smooth sunscreen.Store in a cool, dry place or in the fridge.
  • I prefer to store in a small canning jar and apply like a body butter. It will be thicker, especially if you use coconut oil in the recipe.
  • Remove the zinc oxide and this makes an excellent lotion recipe!

**

Symptoms of Heat Stroke

  • Throbbing headache.
  • Dizziness and light-headedness.
  • Lack of sweating despite the heat.
  • Red, hot, and dry skin.
  • Muscle weakness or cramps.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak.
  • Rapid, shallow breathing.
  • .

Bookkeeper in the spotlight

In 2005 we changed. The first bookkeeper was all the way in Porto; our adventure once started there. I had the idea he wasn’t very reliable and expensive. He never warned about upcoming payments to the state, or that it was time, for example, to reclaim the VAT.

Time for another bookkeeper

I thought it would be a good idea to have an bookkeeper around the corner, and a reliable one, with whom you can discuss this or that. Apparently the government employs a lot of civil servants, and they must all have something to do – and all they can do is come up with rules. That has consequences.

That is precisely the área de especialidade of the bookkeeper

I also have a rule for myself: if I want something, I request a quote from 3 people. Then you have a good idea, and you can make a good choice. So that also happened with choosing a new bookkeeper, but frankly my choice was made from the first moment.

Ferrazcont, as it was then called, made a pleasant impression.

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Their location was great (Soure), their presentation was great (no pretensions, no weighting), their staff were great (people with a real smile) and their price was great (price-quality comparison).

In the beginning I came to check out every month. That is: to pay for their services. At the time, that was just with money, and I was never thinking of asking for a receipt. They told me exactly what I had to do when the Finanças started to automate, and I had to hand in everything every month before the 4th day. And that that was Very Important.

(Later it became the 20th; apparently more people have difficulty with this requirement.)

They tell me with endless patience that it is Really Very Important to hand in your receipts on time, recently again.

Bookkeeping is not my strong suit (but luckily it’s theirs)

And now we suddenly have a logo! I had an appointment at the office of Marcar – as it is now called – because we all have to have a digital invoicing system from July 1; because we all have to register with the RCBE; because we all must have a Complaints Book online.

You need a logo for the latter. We still had not. This was discussed during the interview, and Emília said that she was concerned with these kinds of designs as relaxation. She would arrange that. Top.

Thanks to the compulsive rule of law, thanks to all those civil servants who have to keep on working, thanks to all those rules, and especially thanks to Emília, we now finally have a logo.

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Student orchestra – music on holiday

Just 3 years old, and she already knew exactly what she wanted.

Little Viola saw and heard someone with a violin and at the same time knew: I want to play the violin. Her parents had apparently picked it up intuitively much earlier, and had called her Viola. How beautiful do you want it?

Making music on holiday

We have a few drums, a piano roll, a Portuguese guitar and a small rehearsal for children. The latter was once left by a wealthy mother who, perhaps hopefully, had named her daughter Melody.  Melody was a very nice, smart eight-year-old, with whom I had a lot of fun during a mosaic workshop. The violin didn’t catch on with her. As a Melody you might better become a singer …

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That little violin is not ideal for an adult violinist who has been practising for years and years, but better than nothing. Viola didn’t dare to take her violin with her because it’s a lease. Imagine if something happens to it! And also: it must be transported specially, with a special insurance policy, and that will be pretty expensive.

Playing violin didn’t appeal to Melody, but Viola was very consistent in her desire to become a violinist

Her parents had told their three-year-old daughter that she’d be allowed to play the violin if she still wanted to do so when she was 6 years old. And that was the case. Playing, practicing every day, participating in youth orchestras – it’s a very different childhood than that of many.

I don’t often meet young people who listen regularly to Prokofiev. Or listen to Brahms or Bach while working. It has a somewhat dusty image.

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Unjustified, it turns out. The interdisciplinary ad hoc student orchestra is a kind of a boot camp for young musicians. Playing every day for 10 hours. In the evening they go out to party together.

An intense life as a freelancer in music: work hard, play hard

In this case it is play hard, play hard. Working is playing – now February is the shortest month, but after 10 days of bootcamp your resistance is close to zero. Practicing so much and afterwards so many parties, and therefore very little sleep, a person does not sit in cold clothes.

And then you still have a few weeks to go because then the gigs start!

My respect for young musicians is increasing hand in hand. Not only do they have to work hard – play at least a few hours every day – but they also don’t have much certainty about work after their education. Immediately at the auditions for Performing Musician it is said that it is best to do a study or training next to it. Then at least you have something to fall back on if there is no work.

Unfortunately, we now have no opportunity to enjoy Viola’s musical talents in the absence of a good instrument. Fortunately we can enjoy her cutting and pasting, because like many artfully constructed people, her talent does not stop with music!

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Spiders on holidays

I find the spider that I tried to save in the little bucket with bleach where I always immerse the washing-up brush to keep things nice and fresh.

She was suddenly there. That is a typical characteristic of spiders, they’re suddenly there. They can suddenly pop up from behind a shutter (the so-called pop-up-spiders), they can suddenly drop down from the ceiling (I did experience it when I was wondering about 2 spiders on my ceiling when I was just awake – the so-called drop-down-spiders) and you also have the kind I cherish: the web spiders. At least you know where they are from the latter, and they also catch flies and mosquitoes.

As a child I was soooo afraid of spiders

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My mother then said, holding a captive spider in her hand: “You don’t have to be so scared, they’re more afraid of you.” Haha. Yes of course. When I was 10, I was all too happy that she had lived in the tropics, and had experienced so many different types there, so that she was sitting with that spider in her hand, and that I was safe.

But it’s true. The drowned spider in the little bucket just now had come to meet her own fate, because she was afraid of me, and hid everywhere under and between. I wanted to save her, and chased her with my little cup and piece of paper, but she didn’t get it. Even though after a few minutes of hunting, I shouted desperately: “Hey stop, listen! I’m not going to hurt you, you fool, I want to save you!”

Apparently they don’t have 10 ears …

Anyway, I used to be safe at mother’s house. Kind of. Until the next scary bug. (Oh yes, sorry, spiders are not bugs nor insects, but araneae – they have 2 legs more, and about 10 eyes)

Those eyes, that’s not my point. You only see them from those scary magnifications in a magazine or something, and if you quickly turn the page, you’re still innocent and ignorant.

What is it that spiders are so scary?

The two scenarios that I briefly refer to above made a deep impression on me. I closed a shutter, and suddenly a spider pops up, probably as disappointed as I was startled. She must have thought: “Ha! A nice meaty fly!” and popped up to grab it. Too bad. It was just an almost paralyzed-by-fright human. Far too big for a nice snack.

In the other scenario I was in bed dreamily, just awake, the world was still very young and beautiful; my brain started doing its morning gymnastics, and until it was completely awake I was in an in-between world. In that in-between world I looked at my ceiling, which was adorned with an ingenious kind of “who-can-throw-the-best” stucco, and in those stalagites I always saw anything and everything in the in-between world. Kind of a rorschach test

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But I did see two spiders that morning. Two real living spiders. They sat close together at first, and while I kept my focus on them, they parted. That caused me, at that time of my life in particular (what do you mean, projection?), thoughts like: “I have had enough of it what’s with that jumble I am talking about something why do you always do such as you do I suffocate here I am gone.”

I was very curious about the outcome. What happens to 2 spiders when they separate?

The smallest one disappeared in a crack in the side. I’d never actually seen that crack. Hm. That there was a crack where a spider can disappear in …

The biggest one apparently had won the fight, because it was triumphantly almost right above my head. And perhaps she was so euphoric about the victory that she suddenly turned and – boom! – dropped. On top of my duvet, crotch hight.

I was very happy that I had seen that. Imagine that I would not have! Then that myth might be true that you swallow two spiders every night. Brrrr

A few years later. In the meantime there have been a lot of people here, who are sooooo afraid of a spider, so I have to take them out. I always do that the Albert-Schweizer method: a cup over it, a piece of paper underneath it, and like that you can walk outside to let it run in nature.

Spiders are very useful animals, I learned

I can even like them. There are a lot of these light brown types with a cross on their backs (the so-called cross spiders) around here. I think they’re all females, because they all have broad hips and make a fertile impression. But the majority consists of lean longlegs. Kind of like a crane fly without wings (which I always find very moving). There was one near the leg of the counter – I looked right at it – who ‘d caught a fly. That drama went real fast, that fly didn’t have a chance. First that sticky web, and then all those legs that she wrapped him in, very skillfully with freshly woven spinning thread.

I watched admiringly, wishing that I myself also had 4 arms

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All those eyes are not necessary (I have glasses) for all I care, but one or two pairs of extra arms is handy! Can’t science do something with that? Build in a bit of spider genes in our DNA?

Here I am! I volunteer!

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

The making of a mosaic in our BnB

When this one’s finished (well, it is, almost! Just some finishing touches), I thought it was time to do the whole facade of the bathhouse, village-square-center-side.

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This little corner is next to our little café. You’ll see it when you go up the stairs.

Time for a new mosaic project

A friend would come, and she always does some mosaic work when she’s here. And a volunteer would come, so with the three of us I dared to start this quite ambitious next mosaic project.

First step: preparations

My priceless son Broes got a big plastic up, took the high pressure machine and cleaned the first part of the facade. It’s the end of May, we don’t have so many guests yet. It could be done. One day of a lot of rubbish, the next day a stripped-of-paint facade and a clean village square. Piece of cake.

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In the mean time we three were busy making some other preparations

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Most of the time, I have an image in my head of the final result

Then there’s the challenge of communicating to the others. With Astrid it’s not so difficult, we work together for a long time already.  With volunteer Viola it was also not a huge challenge, because I found some drawings as an example to keep everything together.

That resulted in this. So close up, you can’t see the beauty of it – like looking at a pointillist painting by George Seurat at a distance of 50 centimeters.

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Like this, glued to the wall, is better, don’t you think?

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Now, the challenge was to keep it civilized, because there were some guests, and they have the right to be in a nice environment. We started in the corner above the kitchen, where the scaffolding is not in the way. Very nice guests, by the way, they loved to see how it went on.

And it went on! In spite of the heat (a few days of 33º – quite rare, but who cares about that when it’s that hot), protected by sunscreen and parasols, we presevered.

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Yesterday, the glue dried out, and me too. Time to stop – at 8 in the evening. As you can see, this is the result of 8 days work with 3 people (if we don’t count Broes’ work to clean it). The facade is a little bigger; we’ll probably need this whole year to do all this. 

I always like to have a mosaic project going on in the summer. Sometimes, there are talented volunteers plus some time in between all the cleaning and cooking. Sometimes, there are interested guests, who have some experience and like to join in for a few hours. 

Making mosaics is addictive! It’s hard to stop

As you can see, because there’s a lot to see in our little village. Come and have a look! We still have some availability this summer … info@termas-da-azenha.com

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Requiem for the eucalyptus

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I bought the eucalyptuses when they were still tiny with only a few little leaves for 10 cents each

We had talked about it extensively: how much water eucalyptus suck up. While working for a real estate agent, in the preparatory phase of our emigration, I visited a casa-murada-com-quintal (I belonged to the rústico department) where the future former owner had planted an adjacent eucalyptus forest.

Once there was also a very deep hole in the ground, about which the future former told that it had been completely full with water in the past, but since he had planted eucalyptus on this piece of land, you could see the water level drop. Those trees drink that much.

We could almost see it drop when we stood there at that hole, talking. (A portuguese conversation can be quite lenghty.)

Later, when we were talking about dehydrating the fields (which at that time were still part of the Termas, but which we sold later, because what business do we have with fields, urban idiots as we were) the memory of those eucalyptuses came to mind.

It was now clear that the whole of Portugal is full of eucalyptuses, but it brings the country not much good

It dries out the entire country. Now we were exactly after that: dehydration.  Our country of origin is famous for it. We want to obtain the polder-model, as worthy descendants of Jan Leeghwater, but then with trees instead of windmills. 

That is why I bought those seedlings and planted them along the ditch. I accidentally mowed a few while they were still small and were in danger of being choked by the reeds. Despite the unwanted thinning, they were still fairly close to each other.

They were not bothered about that at all.

These eucalyptuses have grown as high as the sky in about 17 years

I had a vague scene in the back of my mind that someday I would hear (while being in heaven) a great-grandchild saying, “Yes, my great-grandmother planted those!” – and then they would have become very beautiful and old and big.

Unfortunately, Fate had something else in mind with those eucalyptuses

Last fall we unexpectedly and unvoluntarily hosted Leslie. Leslie the hurricane. As a result, around 4 eucalyptuses were blown over and fell onto the roof. Fortunately, the damage was limited, but if we can expect more extreme weather due to climate change, it is not so smart to leave Very High Trees too close to your house.

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They had done their best, probably in collaboration with son’s guardian angel, because they had fallen exactly on the concrete edge of the roof above his room. They had not been broken down or suddenly dropped; they had slowly fallen. Said the insurance agent.

The past week I felt like Idéfix

photo:  https://www.vivreasainghin.org/2018/10/11/deforestation/idefix-arbres/

Neighbor Josué had arranged someone who would cut them off and take them away. I had a tendency to howl next to the fallen ones – like Idéfix.

I just can’t get used to the view. The air is so bare. Only blue, without any buds and branches.

It was wise. But sometimes wise isn’t fun at all.

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

The painting course started on the 13th …

They even wake up laughing, I think, as I sweep up the leaves of the nespereira, and I hear the laughter from behind the hotel rooms. How special is that!

Yesterday afternoon Wil, the teacher of the painting course, came into the kitchen with: “Now we all get the giggles” – which I thought was a good sign

Just like I thought it was a good sign that they walked into the kitchen to get milk from the fridge, make coffee or tea, and grab an orange (“So good, it tastes really different from those at home!”) .

And who are “they” – if we may ask?

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The ladies of the painting course, which spontaneously emerged last year during the summer holidays, and which is now becoming a reality. Wil was here last year on holiday with her daughter and grandsons, and found it an inspiring environment for a painting course on location.

All her life, Wil has been organizing painting courses, 73 years old and surely not going to stop! Together with her mate Louise, they’re an unbeatable team

Last night I did what I prefer to do at the end of the day: after taking a shower, do a bit of reading in my comfy chair. The whole painting-course-group was chatting at the large table on the esplanada – right under my comfy chair. It sounded very nice. A lot of laughter.

I was enjoying my little alone-time upstairs, with the idea that this painting course is becoming a success

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I couldn’t really hear it, but it was animated for sure. One of them was telling something, and that was apparently hilarious because laughter erupted at various pitches time after time. Laughter is contagious. I was grinning like crazy in my chair.

There is not only laughter, there is also work!

Yesterday afternoon there were people here and there with a drawing pad on their lap. Many flowers are painted, because there are so many of those now. In spring it is a party here for that matter. That’s what the butterflies and the bees think too.

I leave everything alone when I see that butterflies and bees like them. We’ll mow later, when everything gets drier. Moreover, I don’t have time for that now, because I have to cook for 11 people!

But all this didn’t start so well, on the 13th …

The bus to the airport broke down, they had to transfer to another bus. “Hurryhurry, we won’t make it to the plane on time!” Someone nervously left her bag with everything in it in the broken bus, and had to go to pick it up with a (very expensive) taxi, while the others were waiting impatiently because the gate was about to close.

It all went well, but it was a real last-minute!

Two and a half hours to recover and to laugh about all this stress, but in Portugal the 13th still applied. They were delayed on the train; someone had jumped before it.

That is of course quite upsetting – let’s respectfully shut up and say no more about it – but anyway more delay.

Finally in Alfarelos, the destination, there was only one taxi. With hands and feet they managed to make it clear that the group had to go to Termas-da-Azenha.

Unfortunately, only 5 + luggage could fit in the taxi

In the meantime I was more or less informed over whatsapp, that it would take at least another hour before everybody would be there. Once again I was happy with my haybox, where the curry & rice was kept nice and warm. A curry doesn’t get bad by standing an hour longer, so that was no point. The weather was nice, 32º – also not a problem.

I asked the taxi driver if he couldn’t recruit some colleagues, and then the mystery was solved. “It’s the 13th,” he said, shaking his head (yes, we all knew that already!) “All my colleagues are in Fátima.” Ah! It fell on top of me! Of course! May 13th , the first time the three shepherd children of Fátima had seen Maria!

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It is full of people in Fátima on the 13th of May, of August and of October

Not a bad day for Catholics. They’re forgiven for all their sins, if they go to Fátima on these days. For heathens like us it’s a bit different though ….

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Family visit and golden rain

Nobody knows how many times it has been. We’ve all lost count in all those years that we’ve been living here in Termas-da-Azenha. And it’s all caused by fear.

O yeah? What’s up?

Fear of flying, that is what’s up

My brother doesn’t like to fly. Many more people have that (maybe they’ll save our planet because of it). He solved it very simply when we emigrated: he bought a red van. It has since become The Red Van – the Rotterdam – Azenha service, without a timetable but with a whole stevedoring team.

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He came the second year we were here with a van full of memories of our mother, who had died shortly before.

Those things are still scattered throughout our village, just like the next loads, because the Red Van has already been driven back and forth countless times. Fully loaded with useful things such as peanut butter, indonesian food, dressers and couches, but there was also a piano, and a real water pump with 800 liter capacity.

In recent years, the RV usually rides in April, the nicest month of the year

Just a pity that the weather isn’t completely stable in April, despite the beauty of fireflies, starry skies and the scent of orange blossom and eucalyptus. The first week, the family had to deal with with rain and cold-for-the-time-of-the-year.

Fortunately it was a wonderful weather the second week!

I found that very pleasant, because that way they could also have breakfast and / or read in the sun. We come from a family of readers, so books / e-readers are a basic condition for survival. I also found it very pleasant because we are also from a family who like to do stuff.

There were other guests, an ex-volunteer with her family, campers and a group of students with supervisors.

The latter had booked half board. Breakfast is not that hard, but dinner is a different story. My sisters took matters in hand, peeled potatoes (you don’t feed students pasta – they make that themselves all the time) and did the dishes.

At home they have a dishwasher but here there are piles of dishes to wash and dry. I don’t have a dishwasher, because that makes no sense. It only takes much longer

In the meantime, my brother provided the entrance with a whole battery of lavender plants and carnations, weeded the Butterfly Garden and sown even more tasty flowers (tasty for butterflies & bees), planted the Golden Rain (which seems to be happy). My sisters sewn curtains, cleaned their own rooms … too much to mention!

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I’m blessed with such a family. As Julie Andrews once sang: “… for somewhere in my youth or childhood … I must have done something good …” – otherwise they would never do that?

If you ever have to face the choice: the position of the youngest in a large family is a Golden Choice! I can heartily recommend it!

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

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